Porto: A city famed for its port wine, stunning Old Town, and picturesque Douro River

Porto Airport Directory (OPO)
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Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, divided by the River Douro. One of the most attractive cities, it makes every traveller consider extending their stay. Take a stroll through the historical neighbourhood of Ribeira, lose yourself walking along the narrow streets lined with charming cafés and boutiques. Don’t forget to explore the architectural wonders around the city, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Luiz I Bridge and the Monastery of Serra do Pilar. As the days pass in Porto, savour delicious local dishes and slowly take in the city’s beauty to truly enjoy the impressive attractions.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Porto is May-June or September-October. Since Porto has a walking culture, these months are ideal for city exploration.

How to Reach?

By Air: Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is the closest airport that serves both international and domestic flights. The airport has metro and bus services that link it to the city. The airport is approximately 10 km from the city’s centre.

By Train: Since Porto is one of the major cities in Portugal, there are two main railway stations. São Bento Station is right in the heart of the city. From this station, the trains operate to the northern part of the country, like Braga, Viana do Castelo, and Douro. On the other hand, Campanha Train Station mainly focuses on trains that run to the southern part of the country, like Lisbon and neighbouring countries in Europe.

By Road: Getting to Porto by bus is a convenient and cheaper alternative for travellers. The city has two bus terminals. The Park of the Carmelitas bus terminal is located near the São Bento Station. The Casa da Musica bus terminal is located closer to the city centre.

Getting Around

The public transport around Porto is well connected. Although the city has a good walking culture, some sites are too far so it is a good idea to use the public transport system. At Porto, you can get the Porto Card and the Andante Card. The former is a pass for sightseeing, which, along with unlimited use of public transport, gives discounts or free entry to some of the attractions. The Andante Tour Card enables you to use the city buses and metro in Porto for free. However, this card is valid for select number of days.

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Places to visit in Porto

  • Tower of Clerics: This iconic landmark, a clock tower, can be seen from almost every part of the city. It is a 75 m tall tower that was commissioned by the Brotherhood of the Clergy and designed by Nicolau Nasoni in the 18th What makes visiting this tower worth it is the breathtaking panoramic view you get from the top. There is no lift here, so prepare to climb around 240 steps to get a bird's-eye view of Portugal.
  • Palácio da Bolsa: Built in the mid-19thcentury, Palácio da Bolsa was a former stock exchange that is located on the site of a Franciscan monastery. The exquisite interior of the building will make you gasp with amazement. Inside, there are several rooms you can explore, like the portrait room which has a gallery of uniformed monarchs, and the golden room where you can admire the gilded stucco ceiling. Along with these two rooms, other parts of the building are also interesting to see, like the juror's room and the Arabian room.
  • Igreja de São Francisco: A single look at Igreja de São Francisco will captivate you with its baroque interior dating back to the 18th This beautiful church of St. Francis is a sight for sore eyes; the façade of the building is enough to excite you for what's inside. It has an intricately designed altar and column, with walls displaying smiling cherubs and dour-faced monks. The most fascinating site here is the São Francisco's Tree of Jesse, carved between 1718 and 1721. It boasts detailed carvings, and statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, along with other figures.
  • Cais da Ribeira: The old part of the city, Ribeira, is a fascinating place to be. This riverside quarter is surrounded by a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets, and zigzagging alleyways, making it an enjoyable neighbourhood to explore on foot. There are lofty townhouses and terrace restaurants facing the River Douro from where you can enjoy the view of the colourful city, and the golden sun setting on a distant horizon. There are also streetside cafés for relaxing and socializing. Since Ribeira is all about history, with buildings that are built over Roman foundations, UNESCO recognises this place as a World Heritage Site.
  • World of Discoveries: Besides the ancient attractions, the city houses an interactive museum, which may ignite your exploration spirit. This museum is one of the best places to see while in Porto. There is an eatery, a theme ride, and exhibits that will teach you about early Portuguese navigators. It has a boat ride where you can sit on a miniature caravel, that will sail through the museum, educating and guiding you through the discoveries.

Places to eat in Porto

  • Esquina do Avesso: Located close to the Leça da Palmeira beach, the quaint Esquina do Avesso is one of the city’s must-visit restaurants that serves a blend of creative and traditional dishes. It has a lovely industrial design with wood and marble furnishings.
  • Tia Tia Porto: For one of the best restaurants for natural wines and delicious Portuguese food, come to Tia Tia. The restaurant offers a mix of dishes from all over the country. Their menu changes according to the season, so you can expect to find a variety of delectable food options every time you visit.
  • O Buraco: If fine dining is not your choice for experiencing Porto, then head to O Buraco. It's where the locals eat, and it's also a good place to strike up a conversation. Its driving factor is probably the traditional Portuguese cuisine they serve. Its classic dishes are what keep customers returning to O Buraco.
  • Pizzeria Antonio Mezzero: Looking for the best pizza in the city? Visit Pizzeria Antonio Mezzero, a place owned by Antonio Mezzero, who is a Naples-born chef and winner of the Caputo Cup for top pizzaiolo in 2018. This pizzeria bakes perfectly thin Neapolitan-style pizzas, with puffy edges and traditional toppings.

Shopping in Porto

  • Bolhão Market: What’s not to like about markets that are located in a historic neoclassical building, sell organic produce, and great street food? To get an essence of true Porto, head to this popular food market and explore different fruits and vegetables, try out the street food, and buy local products that come directly from farms.
  • Vandoma Flea Market: This market is located near the Sé Cathedral, along the River Duoro. The reason to visit this flea market is for the second-hand and vintage clothing. This flea market comes to life with locals playing music on the street. So, if you want to shop for antique clothes, jewellery, and homeware, come to the Vandoma Flea Market.
  • Porto Belo Market: This market gets its name from the famous Portobello Road Market in London, since they share a similar vibe. This is an open-air market that has everything, from clothing to food, vintage accessories, and handmade goods.
  • Urban Market: One of the trendiest markets in Porto is the Urban Market. What defines this market are the irresistible items for sale, like contemporary furniture, antique artwork, home decor, vintage jewellery, and unique clothing.

Where to stay in Porto?

  • Torel 1884: An elegant hotel that boosts Portuguese design, Torel 1884 is a place one must stay at to experience its sheer beauty. The hotel is within walking distance of Porto Cathedral and other attractions. This 4-star hotel has an impressive decor with wooden floors and forest-inspired wallpapers. It has minimal, modern-style rooms with a few antiques at every corner.
  • Torel Avantgarde: This is a 5-star boutique hotel with an impressive view of the River Douro. If not for anything else, you can definitely spend a night here for its impressive outdoor pool and luxurious rooms. Each room has a different theme that is based on famous personalities, such as Francis Bacon, Frida Kahlo, Charlie Chaplin, and Diego Rivera.
  • Rosa et al Townhouse: For those seeking calmness and serenity without leaving the city, you can spend a night at the Rosa et al Townhouse. This is a boutique hotel on a small property that offers a calming ambience. The property includes a courtyard garden, spacious living areas, a lovely kitchen, and comfortable rooms.
  • Torel Palace Porto: The best hotel to stay in Porto is Torel Palace. There are three Torel properties in Porto, and this one in particular has a rich history and is located in a beautiful neighbourhood, right in the heart of the city. The original property dates back to 1886, and the palace was restored and reopened for the public in 2020. The moment you enter the regal property, you will get a feeling of grandeur, particularly in the rooms and giant mirrored bathrooms.

More reasons to visit Porto

  • Old-world Porto: Ribeira, the old part of Porto, is one of the major reasons to visit the city. The buildings, architecture, and winding streets are some of the charming things about the Ribeira. It oozes a certain charm as you wander along the pebbled streets. To get a perfect picture of the old city, you can go to the other side of Ribeira to Cais de Gaia.  
  • Take a boat ride at the River Douro: The River Douro separates the city into two parts and is connected by a number of bridges. Taking a boat ride will give you a chance to witness the city’s landscape and the majestic-looking bridges.
  • The Francesinha: The greatest dish that exists is probably the Francesinha. This is a traditional Portuguese sandwich from the city of Porto. It is made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, chipolata, roast meat, and garnished with melted cheese. This is a must-try when in the city.
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